So it’s February, and it’s cold. This year in particular has been even more of a doozy, with polar vortexes and freak snow storms and wind chill resulting in temperatures that feel like they could freeze up a man’s moustache, like that scene in Cool Runnings where his dreadlock breaks off. (I’m not entirely certain this is possible without drenching yourself and then waiting outside to freeze to death, but it seems like it should be something that could totally happen and would be pretty awful.)
When it gets this cold, a number of things happen. People panic over the loss of their sun deity and entire cities shut down over an inch or so of snow. Despair at the seemingly endless expanse of time until we see a mini skirt or a sundress again hardens our hearts and tempers us with the cold quenching of our breezy summer boners. The air starts to hurt us; we try to find ways to avoid the air, which means bizarre and inconvenient all-indoor routes while we’re walking and trillions of layers of clothing leading to bulkiness and decreased mobility and hearing and visibility. And it is at this time that the awful, terrible, no good coats come out.
Men, outerwear, coats and jackets are clothing too. There’s no reason that they can’t function exceptionally and look great. Some of you will argue with me on this one: “it’s too expensive;” “people shouldn’t judge me by my clothing;” “I look god damn amazing in this puffy North Face jacket from high-school, and you should support that it still fits because every other guy that I graduated with totally let himself go.” Listen, you can think all these things if you want, and on some level, they are correct. But you are working on becoming a finished man, so take my advice: buy a high quality, well styled, timeless jacket or heavy coat. Look good, be warm, be comfortable, and spend your money wisely.
Buying a Designer Coat: Be Cheap, Look Good…?…Profit
There’s a reason that people buy brand names and designer gear. In most cases, it’s not because they want to spend thousands of dollars for a label with a fancy name stitched on the inside of their gear where it will never be seen and fawned over by the rest of the general populace. Designer clothing distinguishes itself from its competitors with sharp styling and high quality workmanship and materials- no label will last long with high prices if they’re not providing the rest of the total package.
I’m going to use Andrew Marc here as an example, because their high end men’s coats are absolutely stunning. Clean lines, sharp angles, flattering proportions and a whole lot of rugged, timeless sexy.
Let’s quickly clarify my usage of timeless here- I’m talking something that will transition through years, transcend trends, and age gracefully so you continue looking like a total badass who is very warm and comfortable. I’m NOT talking about looking like you are frozen in time and that time is 1987 and you’re wearing a deflated silver ski jacket with a navy stripe across the back and people who see you wonder if they are now timeless too, ie. stuck in some anomaly where the continual forward passage of time does not exist. Justify your designer purchase by getting something that looks amazing, but that also doesn’t scream “I am from a very particular time period and you will regret buying me almost instantaneously! In a year from now, you would rather freeze to death than admit you need to purchase a new jacket, and you’ll be damned if you’ll take me out and put me on! FROSTBITE, HO!”
A slightly fitted style is not bad, I promise. When you buy a better coat, you won’t need to wear three sweaters under it to make up for the fact that it was assembled in a sweatshop by a child who has no concept of snow, out of the shredded remains of some seagulls and 1973 American history textbooks. Instead of looking like Stay Puft, you can look like you… only all toasty warm and sexy when everyone else is shivering and miserable. Just like cool guys don’t look at explosions, they also don’t tremble in the cold.
All of these things are worth the money when it comes to buying an excellent jacket. With that said, you don’t have to spend the designer price for a great coat (or on any high end brand name item, really.) The key to scoring phenomenal deals on label merch is to buy at end of season. What’s important to realize is that the definition of ‘season’ in the fashion world and the real world differs greatly. (The fashion world in general has absolutely no real connection to any reality- this article I wrote will forever be a testament.) For designers, December is the end of winter- it’s time to clear out and start pushing spring so that all the fashion forward trendsetters with obnoxiously deep pockets will be kitted out in their balmy weather duds before the snow is even off of the ground. For the rest of us, a large portion of the world sees snow and rain well into February and March. I’m sure many of us wish that weather would magically conform to a magical three month cycle, where there’s a place for every raindrop and every raindrop in its place; instead, we live on an unpredictable planet that is ever more angered by our incessant meddling and will some day freeze us out of existence for our presumptuousness.
Clear out means exactly what you think- it’s standard practice to see end of season designer goods go for 60-80% off the original price, usually with free shipping or extra discounts thrown on to sweeten the deal. For a label, there’s no chance that stock can be put aside for the next year, so getting any return on the now useless merchandise is better than -gasp!- showing the same styles two years in a row. Even if every year literally the only thing that changes is the zipper pull, you better believe that it’s definitely, totally, not the same and so next level.
Returning to my example: Andrew Marc’s fall and winter coats are all on 70% off right now – this particular one has been reduced by half a grand. While this may mean that occasionally certain styles will sell out in your size, it saves you huge, huge money on an investment that will return warmth and stylishness in spades. Plus, it’s probably a good thing that you learn how to force yourself to wait for something you want because your funds aren’t limitless; it’s okay because you’ll look like a million bucks.